About Frugal Fish

I grew up on Elim Bible Institute, Lima NY and Pinecrest Bible Training Center (Now the Whitestone Academy), Salisbury Center, NY, where my father, Charlie Cary, was on staff. When we moved back to Iowa, (12), I joined the "Gospel Lighthouse Telecast" choir, a local weekly program sponsored by the Gospel Lighthouse in Batavia. I have read the Bible through, every year, since I was 13. I became the church janitor when I was 16 and played piano for services. I moved to Fairfield and started playing the piano, when I was 18, at the Fairfield Foursquare Church. I married David Fishel there when I was 20. At 21, I became secretary/treasurer and served for 24 years, stepping down due to a health issue. My family now attends the Fairfield satellite of Faith Christian Outreach Center, Mt. Pleasant, where we serve in the worship band. We have three grown children and one grandchild. ©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles

It started with this picture of an angel. I bought her during a really rough year, (11 funerals), and her expression matched what I was feeling. But the grieving process is over and I am no longer sad! Angel Picture "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles" frugalfish.org

I am slowing purchasing frames at Goodwill and framing my children’s artwork. There was one picture I framed that my daughter drew during a rough year in her life. The drawing was not what I thought it was. When I found out what she really drew, that picture made me sad. I took that picture out of the frame and gave it back to her.

Earlier, I framed 6 pieces of artwork based on the piece that looked the best in the frame. My youngest son pointed out there were 2 of my oldest son’s pieces, 3 of my daughter’s pieces and only 1 of his. I decided to correct that.

Using the frame from the piece I returned, I tried to find one of my youngest son’s pieces to put in it. They were all too large. Then I noticed one torn piece.Torn Artwork "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles" frugalfish.org

I took the mat out of the frame and put it over an undamaged portion. I cut the artwork to fit in the frame and disposed of the rest.Matted Fragment "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles" frugalfish.org

I taped it to the mat, put it back together, and taped the backing paper down.Taped paper backing down "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles" frugalfish.org

This was the picture before…Original picture "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles" frugalfish.org

…and this is the picture after. Wouldn’t it make a great gift? It’s an original!Framed Children's Artwork, "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles" frugalfish.org

I took the backing paper off of the angel print and found the print, matting, and cardboard were all stapled to the frame. I cannot reuse this frame. I taped it back together and put it in my box for Goodwill.Artwork stapled to frame "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles" frugalfish.org

My frugalfish tip this week is to frame a piece of your children’s artwork in a frame from artwork you no longer like. It is inexpensive, but “priceless.”

Next week, I will reveal my 2017 Christmas theme. Have you guessed it yet? (My sister-in-law found out that Google is no help!)

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

2017 Christmas Tour

Once again, I based my Christmas theme on a Christmas Carol. But I believe this will be the most difficult theme to guess! I will only respond to guesses posted in the comments below because I’m ornery. (Sorry, Facebook doesn’t count!)

At the front door, a cardinal is sitting in a nest on my wreath. An angel presides over the bird and there are musical ornaments on the sides. I made it by wrapping garland around my grapevine wreath and then wrapped red bead garland and lace around it. The poinsettias on the top are two napkin holders! Under the angel is a red ribbon with a bell tied to it that jingles merrily when the door opens.

Cardinal Christmas Wreath "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

As you hang your coat on the hook in the entryway, you will see two lamps. One is a Tiffany lamp with a tea light and the other is a Victorian lamp.

Tiffany Lamp and Victorian Lamp "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

You will notice Cardinals on this Victorian lamp. I have now given you three clues.

Victorian Lamp "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

The Christmas Tree is the first thing you will see when you step into the living room. I am only showing you the top because I have several more ornaments to add. There are angels, instruments, wreaths with cardinals, beaded fruit, and homemade Victoria cones on it. (Someone didn’t get the Christmas boxes down until late Saturday night.)

We made the cones after Thanksgiving dinner, by unrolling some music scrolls. We rolled them into cones, taped them, and added lace and buttons with a hot glue gun, and filled them with multicolored lifesavers. We made the smaller ones from paper doilies. We painted the tips and around the top with gold paint. (Shout out to Melinda, Rachel, and Olivia for helping!)

We also painted the tips of large pine cones, but there was something on the cones that caused an allergic reaction. They are now in the garage. (Sorry, Rachel, I know you spent a long time painting them.)

Oh, yeah, Luke and Derek helped by pulling out my retractable clothesline and hanging the ornaments as we painted them. (They made sure to use the one in the walkway to give us gold highlights in our hair.)

Top of Christmas Tree "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

It was this quilted throw that confirmed my theme for this year.

Cardinals on a Quilt "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

I tried to include all the colors of the stockings in the swag on the window between the kitchen and the living room. I used the kissing ball a few years ago and just added lace to it. The beaded plums represent “sugar plums dancing in their heads.” (Shout out to Melinda who made the candy garland out of lifesavers my daughter left here months ago!)

I found the singing Cardinals at Goodwill. I used them in place of the glass block. There is a glass angel next to them.

Candy Garland and Stockings "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

I wired a wreath to the bottom of the swag light and decorated it with cobalt blue beads and ornaments. I tied burgundy bows to the beads at the points of the window valance and to the top of the light.

Decorated Swag Light "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

The centerpiece is a wreath on top of a plate. Inside is a gold angel and on the other side of the decorations are more cardinals.

Angel and Cardinals Centerpiece "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

As you walk down the hall, you will see the “JOY” candlesticks that I painted. Three years, well worth it!

Christmas JOY Candlestickes "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

In the bathroom are more cardinals and another angel. (Shout out to Laura who made the angel in Girl Scouts!) I picked up the white decorated towels on clearance last year and the red towels at a Black Friday sale. The decorated French horn is a brooch.

Cardinals on the Towels "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

The dining room is lit with my Christmas village and a lighted garland. I wrapped red beads around the garland and used it to hide the cords from the lights. The lights brighten the cake stand and punch bowl on the buffet. There are several baskets and other decorations mixed in on the bookshelf.

Christmas Village on the Bookshelf "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

I put three angels in the center of the table facing out. That way an angel is facing every direction. There are cardinals sitting around their feet.

Angles and Cardinals Centerpiece "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

In case you missed them, the three clues are:

  1. Angels
  2. Cardinals
  3. Victorian

My frugalfish tip for this week is to pick a theme for next year now. You can pick up Christmas decor on clearance after Christmas and you can shop at consignment shops and garage sales for the items you want all year.

If you have the cash in your pocket, it is okay to splurge every once in a while. I found the quilted throw and Victorian Lamp on my trip to Virginia with my mom and sisters. My younger sister had to talk me into buying them, even though I had enough cash on me. My husband loves them. He’s a St. Louis Cardinals fan. (I’m not and that is not my theme!)

I am so convinced that no one will guess the theme this year, that I am going to wait 2 weeks to reveal it! Next week, I will show you a priceless Christmas gift to make for grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org

Kid Tested, Mother Approved Hot Chocolate Mix

How are you spending Black Friday? Have you been up for hours? Did you stand in line in the cold?

I’m decorating for Christmas! I chose this year’s theme last December! There is no way you will guess it! (Actually, in the last three years, only one person guessed my theme correctly and he found a clue I left in a pretty obvious place. Go, Luke!)

Whether you are just getting home from shopping or are in the middle of your decorating, you need a cup of hot chocolate!Homemade Hot Chocolate "Kid Tested, Mother Approved Hot Chocolate Mix" frugalfish.org

I have a recipe for “Hot Chocolate Mix” that every kid will love and every mother will approve. My kids still love it!

“Hot Chocolate Mix”

  • 7 Cups Nonfat Dry Milk
  • 2/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 1/4 Cups Dry Coffeemate
  • 1 – 2 pound can of Nestle’s Quick

Mix all ingredients together and store in a sealed container. Use 1/3 cup of mix for each cup of hot water.Jar of Hot Chocolate Mix "Kid Tested, Mother Approved Hot Chocolate Mix" frugalfish.org

Mothers love this mix because each cup is a cup of milk! Kids love it because it is sweet from the powdered sugar and creamy from the Coffeemate!

 

You can top the hot chocolate with one of the following:

  1. Marshmallows
  2. Crushed Peppermints
  3. Whipped Topping
  4. A Scoop of Ice Cream

My frugalfish tip is – homemade is always better! Make your own!

Next week I will reveal my “2017 Christmas Theme.” I’m so excited!

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org

 

2017 Thanksgiving Table

My inspiration for my 2017 Thanksgiving table was the runner that I used on my kitchen table. I love the black and red with sunflowers on the edges.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

I used a black tablecloth with a red runner to mimic the table runner’s background. My gold charger plates stood in for the sunflower petals.

Gold Charges as Sunflowers "2017 Thanksgiving Table" frugalfish.org

I set the table and folded black napkins into rosettes for the centers of my sunflowers. The centerpiece is simply artificial vegetables my sister, Michele, gave me. Oh, the Indian corn in the center is real – it was given to me by my children’s preschool teacher! (Shout out to Roger and Deb!) I can’t believe it lasted this long!

Napkins Folded into Rosettes Make Sunflower Centers "2017 Thanksgiving Table" frugalfish.org

My frugal tip for this week may not save you money, but it will save you time!

I learned this tip, (for those with a separate dining room), from flylady.net. She sets her table a few days before Thanksgiving and covers it with clean sheets or tablecloths. I used my white tablecloths as dust covers. I set my table 11 days before Thanksgiving. That is one less thing on my to-do list!Cover Set Table with Tablecloths or Sheets "2017 Thanksgiving Table" frugalfish.org

Next week, I will share something everyone needs on Black Friday!

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org

 

“2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour”

When you walk to my front door, you will see my Thanksgiving wreath. I made it by wrapping a gilded leaf garland my sister gave me around a grapevine wreath. All I needed to add was a plaid bow!

Gilded Garland Wreath "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

Before you knock, you will see a Pilgrim Bear greeting you from the windowsill. He’ll leave the lights on for ya!

Pilgrim Bear "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

Stepping into the living room, the lights from my glass block will draw your eye. I filled it with river rock and copper cookie cutters. It brings out the copper wire on the lights wrapped around the glass block. Next to it is my humble coaster stand. The cork and wood fit in with the autumn decorations. I decorated it with an artificial leaf and twine that came wrapped around Angie’s wedding invitation. (Congratulations Angie and Brock!)

Copper Cookie Cutters in a Glass Block "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

On the couch is my new pillow cover that says, “Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound.” The braided burlap trim says, “Autumn” to me! I love how the black and white lettering plays off of my black and white music quilt.

New Pillow Cover with Throw "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

The centerpiece on the kitchen table inspired my scheme for this Thanksgiving. You may remember I used it on my dining room table two years ago. I folded it in thirds to make it the proper size for my kitchen table. On top are my turkey napkin holder, candlesticks, and salt and pepper shakers. (Yes, Rachel, I did fill them.)

Thanksgiving Centerpiece "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

There are various vegetables around the base of the turkey napkin holder. I decided to use vegetables in my decor. I put a pumpkin basket and a glass pumpkin in my china cabinet.

Pumpkins in a China Cabinet "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

Using the colors from the table runner, I layered towels in the bathroom. I kept the autumn print I got from a link at theinspiredroom.net on the wall and pinned a turkey pin on one towel. On top I put a turkey I made with washcloths.

Washcloth Turkey "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

My frugalfish tip for this week is…

“Buy Pillow Covers, Not Pillows!”

Last week the clocks turned back one hour. In the spirit of changing times, I am going to “fall back” 7 hours next week! I will publish my post at 5:00 p.m. CST instead of 10:00 a.m. Come back to see my Thanksgiving Table!

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org

Two Words to Get Anything

Today I am going to share with you two words that will get you anything you want!

The desire of my heart since we bought our house was to have a garage door opener. David didn’t see it as a necessity.

“Why do we need a garage door opener? We have three: Luke, Laura, and Derek!”

We own a modest home and the garage door was original to the house – without an automatic garage door opener. I am quite content in our home, but it does require maintenance. I posted this picture of our home when I wrote a post about getting free trees.

At the beginning of the summer, David decided to tackle the first word.

“Work!”

He works every other Saturday. On his Saturday off, he repaired and painted one side of the shed. He replaced some rotten boards and put on new hardware. Then he moved on to the house, painting just one side at a time.

It took 8 Saturdays.

He took down the shutters in the front of the house and found several hornet’s nests. We looked everywhere for those nests. I am glad we will not fight hornets next year! (My son’s fiancée recycled those shutters, but that is a post for another time.)

When the house was finally done, David stood back admiring his work. The fresh, white paint made the garage door look even worse! I reminded him that Derek is getting married next year and we will lose our last “garage door opener.”

We had just returned from our trip to Mason City, Iowa and saw some pretty awesome houses there. He decided I had used the second “W” word long enough.

“Wait!”

He brought home a booklet of garage doors. We chose the “Ranch” style door because we live in a “Ranch” style home. We chose the “Prairie Style” windows after seeing the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in Mason City.

The other homes on our street have the four-panel garage door. Ours is unique and stands out. It sure added to our curb appeal.

How long did I wait?

We moved in 32 years ago. Thirty-two years of getting out in the rain, snow, ice, and heat to open that old garage door. It had 2 holes in it. Last spring, I taped matching paper to the back of the holes to disguise them. That old door was 46 years old!

Sometimes it would get stuck under the frame of the garage door and one of the guys would have to pound on it to pop it back behind the wood. It trapped me until they did.

The biggest mistake we make is wanting everything our parents have now. We forget that our parents worked for 30 years to make the home they now enjoy. We have to use the same 2 “W” words that they used.

“Work” and “Wait”

This was our big project for the year. We didn’t borrow to buy the paint, paint supplies, garage door, garage door opener, or the installation costs. We are still debt-free.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

I told you I was going to take my birthday off! I did and totally enjoyed myself. That is why there was not a post last week. I also took the month off – I didn’t decorate for Halloween. I will give you a tour of my Thanksgiving home next week.

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

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How I Improved My Glasses

I have long eyelashes.

How long?

When I got my first pair of glasses in second grade I trimmed them!

(It broke Mom’s heart.)

My lashes are long and curly and Mom always said they were my best feature. But, when I got glasses they got in the way. I kept ripping the glasses off to remove the spider I saw only to find it was just my eyelashes.

The problem got worse when I started wearing makeup. If I didn’t allow the mascara to dry completely, I would find myself looking through bars! Contacts solved that problem for several years until the ophthalmologist told me I could never wear them again because of allergies!

I had a terrible time picking out glasses frames. The first pair I chose had an opening between the front and sides of the glasses. My hair kept getting trapped in the opening. Ouch.

The next pair was too small for the dreaded bifocals. I tried semi-rimless frames, but they magnified any dark circles under my eyes because I am near-sighted.

The last time I purchased frames, I made sure they would mask those dark circles. I forgot that I had to have a nose piece on my glasses because of my long eyelashes. (The spiders were back.)

At the beginning of the summer, I went back to the eye doctor and asked for help. They tried adding little nose pads but they were flesh-colored and my glasses are black.

New Glasses "How I improved my glasses" frugalfish.org

We found silicone nose pads in a larger town but they didn’t stay on! I went back for more and they told me they no longer make them! My glasses cost $500.00 because of my prescription and I did not want to buy another pair.

Glasses with silicone pads "How I improved my glasses" frugalfish.org

Then I had a brainstorm – Bumpers!

Bumpers "How I improved my glasses" frugalfish.org

I had a package already that I used to keep the keyboard pedal from slipping away. They are larger than nose pads and they pushed the frames away from my lashes. The silicone keeps the frames from sliding down my nose on warm days. I have several more in the package and don’t worry about losing one. They keep my glasses firmly in place and that helps me to look out of the correct part of the glasses.

Glasses with Bumpers on them "How I improved my glasses" frugalfish.org

My Frugalfish Tip is to look around, you may have just the thing to solve a problem already on hand.

Next week is my birthday – I may take the day off – or the month. Lol

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

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Daybed for Less Than $135

The need for a daybed did not get critical until our granddaughter graduated from the “Pack and Play.” We tried an air mattress on the floor but it was up so often that the seams on top pulled apart.

I also wanted a daybed in my office to use as a couch and for a place to spread papers out. I did not want it too low or too high. When I received a coupon in the mail for a single size mattress we decided to check it out.

We looked at consignment shops before we went to the furniture store. I also looked in my storage room to see what was available. (We did not want a daybed with a frame because it would block the window.)

We did buy the $75.00 mattress at the furniture store but picked up a new bunkie board at a consignment shop for $20.00 less. I found an adjustable frame at Goodwill for $5.88 and a set of bed raisers in my storage room.

We put the bed together and found it was not high enough to store boxes underneath. I picked up some castor cups and put them on top of the bed raisers. They also keep the legs of the adjustable frame from sliding around.

Last fall, I bought a reversible comforter for our bed. It was not as long as I liked but I kept it because of the navy color. I put that comforter on my “new” daybed and let it drape to the floor hiding the boxes.

I had three, bed pillows and one pillow my daughter made as a gift. I put my extra, light blue shams on two of them and we bought some navy colored shams for the other two.

Since the daybed does not have a frame, that left one problem. I didn’t want to place it completely in the corner because it would block an outlet and crush the floor-length drapes. In the storage room, I found a box used to ship Derek’s latest guitar. I covered it with a fabric shower curtain that I no longer use. It made a nice spacer and left access to the outlet. It keeps the fourth pillow from falling on the floor.

Outlet at head of bed "Daybed for less than $135" frugalfish.org

My granddaughter approved of the new bed! Derek had a friend over when we were out-of-town and he said it was very comfortable.

Daybed cost:

  1. Mattress $75.
  2. Bunkie Board $40.
  3. Adjustable Frame $6.
  4. Bed Raisers Free.
  5. Comforter Free.
  6. Pillows Free.
  7. 2 Pillow Shams 12.
  8. Headboard Spacer Free.
  9. Headboard Spacer Cover Free.
  10. Total Cost $133.

New daybed "Daybed for less than $135." frugalfish.org

My Frugalfish tip is to make your own daybed by getting some of the parts at consignment stores.

Next week I will show you how I improved my glasses!

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

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Jewelry at a Glance

Years ago, I had my clothes in the laundry room and David’s clothes were in the bedroom closet. There is blue foam covering the laundry room walls. I used straight pins to hang my necklaces, bracelets, and fabric scrunchies on it. I got teased about being OCD but I loved seeing everything displayed.

Unfortunately, it was not a good plan for allergies.

Everything was open to the room and eventually, the clothes got dusty. I had to take it all down and moved my clothes back upstairs. Now we call the laundry room “The Locker Room” because David and Derek store their clothes there. (We use allergy screens now and an allergy furnace filter and they do not get dusty.)

I keep my clothes safely behind closed doors but I still display my jewelry. I bought a bulletin board and mounted it behind the bedroom door.

I purchased several new pieces of jewelry on our weekend in Mason City and Clear Lake, Iowa. I had to redo my jewelry board.

First I removed the items I no longer wear and all the sterling silver. They tarnished when I left them out. I moved them to a closed jewelry box. I sorted the earrings in one bowl and the bracelets in another bowl.

Separate necklaces, bracelets, and earrings "Jewelry at a Glance" frugalfish.org

I hung the necklaces using T-pins and arranged them on the board by color.

Arrange the necklaces "Jewelry at a Glance" frugalfish.org

The bracelets filled in holes left by the necklaces. Some of them I hung on the T-pin with the matching necklace.

Add bracelets "Jewelry at a Glance" frugalfish.org

I put my earrings in 4 hole buttons and placed them in the remaining spaces. I used straight pins to hang them. I hung them by color near to the necklaces I would wear with them.

Hang earrings in the spaces "Jewelry at a Glance" frugalfish.org

As you can see, I have room for more Navy colored earrings!

Next week I will show you the daybed I put together for under $135.00!

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

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Keep Your Veggies Longer

There is nothing worse than a fruit fly infestation. It is one of the main reasons I ordered the “Reusable Produce Mesh Bags.” You take them to the store, put the produce in them and bring them home. The holes are too small for fruit flies. After using them, you launder them in the washing machine.

I found another use for them.

I love salads. My vegetable drawer is full of salad fixings. They are each in their own green bag. I noticed that the broccoli crowns would spoil at the places touching the green bags. I started putting the clean vegetables in the “Reusable Produce Mesh Bags” and then putting it all in a green bag. My broccoli lasted a week longer!

My fruit did not fare as well. Apparently, it caused them to spoil sooner! I guess it didn’t release enough ethylene gas. I keep my fruit in the green bags alone.

Reusable produce bags inside a green bag "Keep Your Veggies Longer" frugalfish.org

Next week, I will show you how I organized my jewelry!

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

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